Prevention is Our Profession
STD CARRIERS
Disease Control and Prevention Services

Legal Issues - Medical Privacy, Defamation, and Free Speech

Before we begin this site has already been challenged in federal court and the judge held that it is legal. To learn more Click Here

Legal Rights for Infected People

If you have been infected with an incurable STD there may be legal options available to you depending on the area you are in. Especially if someone has either failed to inform you of a condition that they had prior knowledge of or intentionally infected you. In many areas failing to inform a partner(s) about having HIV/AIDS and giving it to them constitutes criminal assault and possibly attempted murder if intentional. For other incurable STDs failing to disclose and giving someone a disease constitutes civil negligence making the negligent person liable for the victim’s future medical expenses and if the infection was intentional a lawsuit could be filed as both a negligence and intentional tort.

Five Common Misconceptions Our Operation

1. STDCarriers.com takes information from users and then publishes it.

This is not the case. STDCarriers.com does not publish any information from users as far as STD Carrier Reports are concerned. Information is published by users who agree to the Terms of Use and then insert information into our database. As part of this agreement users assume full responsibility for the information that they publish. Once information is inserted into the database it is becomes visible wherever the content of the database is displayed. User published content from the database can be found on the STD Carriers Page, STD Carrier Details Page, Opinion Forum, RSS feeds, and on our social networking accounts that is fed by our RSS feeds. RSS feeds can be viewed on any third party web page that subscribes to the feed. Although many sites use RSS feeds that are static XML files updated manually ours are updated automatically by exporting content from the database in XML/RSS format. Carrier information can also be viewed in the STD Carrier Search and STD Carrier Slide Show widgets or on any web page where they have been embedded.

2. STDCarriers.com is legally liable for information published by its users that is damaging to a person’s character (ex: Slander and Libel) or was obtained from a legally confidential source.

This is not the case. As our disclaimer clearly states we do not assert that any report is in fact true just that someone inserted that information into the database. Although we do not publish information the First Amendment to the United States Constitution would protect our right to report what someone else said even if what that person said was false because that fact that the statement was made would be true. What the First Amendment does not protect is people who make false statements and we will do all we can to help hold them responsible for their actions. In the case of health care professionals violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) it is the responsibility of those individuals not to disclose confidential medical records.

3. STDCarriers.com has a legal obligation to immediately remove false information or information obtained from a confidential source.

This is not the case because once information is placed on the internet or any place accessible to the public it can then be copied and placed in an unlimited number of other locations. This was made clear in the case of Bank Julius Baer and Co. Ltd. v. Wikileaks.org. However we will stick to our False Online Record Removal Policy of deleting information once we are convinced that it is false or originated from a confidential source as soon as we can.

4. STD Carriers is Subject to the Laws of Foreign Governments

A long time misconception that is somewhat true these days. STD Carriers provides a service that is legal in the United States of America where it maintains its principal place of business. We did not possess physical or liquid assets outside of the United States for quite awhile, but we do these days. Due to the previous two facts the laws of other countries do not apply to us unless we keep assets in those countries. We are well aware that in some countries we are providing a service that is not legal in that area. Fortunately foreign governments do not have the jurisdiction necessary to enforce those laws. This gives us the ability to protect the identity of users in good standing in accordance with our Free Speech Policy. We will not cooperate with foreign law enforcement agencies unless the user is proven to have violated the website Terms of Use.

5. Some states have laws that allow people to sue for the publication of private facts. STD Carriers and any member who publishes information from one of these areas could be successfully sued for invasion of privacy.

This is not true. As stated in misconception one, we do not publish the information. Even if we did publish the information our website is based in the state of Oregon. In Oregon you can sue for invasion of privacy for a number of reasons that do not include publication of private facts.

We can protect the identity of any user who posts truthful information from an area that allows lawsuits based on the publication of private facts. This is because of the Oregon Media Shield Law. The Oregon Media Shield Law protects any person or organization that is engaged in any medium of communication with the public from being compelled by the government to produce evidence the source of any published or unpublished information. This law protected the Portland Mercury from having to reveal the I.P. address used to post an allegedly defamatory blog comment about a mayoral candidate (see article).

Thinking of filing in another state to circumvent the law? Good luck. You will never see a representative from this website in another states courtroom. The mental health of our staff is important to us. They are highly technical people who possess valuable skills as well as knowledge. We will not subject them to the risk of amnesia likely to result from the stress of interstate travel. We also would not want to risk the possibility of losing data if an unfortunate accident were to occur during their absence.

Summary of Misconceptions

In closing we understand the frustration that could be caused by people abusing our service. Do you think we want to receive fraud alert emails and spend time building pages like this one? The posting of false information interferes directly with our mission since it compromises the validity of the information in our database. It is in everyone’s best interest to prevent and rectify fraudulent use. It's unfortunate that people will use the internet to make up lies to hurt others. This can happen here just as easily as it could happen any place else. We also understand that it can be frustrating to learn that the laws of your country are inferior to ours or that you live in state with inadequate free speech protection. Hopefully other countries will make the necessary legal changes to raise themselves to our level and our elected officials will continue to improve the free speech protection laws that make America the most enlightened country on Earth second only to at least two other countries including the Netherlands and Sweden..